With my family, I spent Friday in Bath visiting the Christmas Market that happens every year in the streets all around the cathedral. One of my two favourites, along with Winchester, this annual event is a real gem at the heart of the Christmas season for me; so much so that I found myself looking forward to it as the highlight of December. Bath lends itself so well to Christmas; with its warm golden Cotswold stone and classic lines, more than a touch of the Dickensian about some of its side streets and shop windows, not to mention a strong hint of Jane Austen seasoning the mix. Crowded it may have been and yet the vibe was so friendly and relaxed, with music and out-bursts of singing performances, the waft of mulled wine and roasting chestnuts on the air and a preparedness to engage with one another amongst strangers that is lovely to behold.
We spent our day wandering wheresoever the urge led us, punctuated by a very leisurely lunch in our all-time favourite restaurant Acorn Vegetarian Kitchen. This truly great restaurant is situated in the very town-house where Ralph Allen established the first centralised postal distribution service in the eighteen century, so evolving the whole way in which long-distance communication was conducted towards something far closer to that which we have come to take for granted today; incidentally, he was was also behind the innovation to use the smooth honey-coloured Cotswold stone for the classic Georgian architecture that I refer to above and which has become Bath’s trademark. Overlooking a plaque commemorating the time that he spent there, as well as a view of the cathedral, we took pause to enjoy some of the most innovative use of vegetarian ingredients that you are ever likely to encounter before ‘hitting’ the streets again until long after dark on what was a magical day out.
I’ll leave the pictures to tell the rest of the story; capturing, as they do, some of those qualities that are intrinsic to our very idea of this most festive and light-filled time of the year.